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New Jersey high school student releases illustrated children’s book

    When RayRay gets a class assignment to do a self-portrait, she’s excited. That is until she realizes that her hair isn’t like anyone else’s. . . . not even her family’s. Determined to find out where her hair came from, RayRay sets off on a quest to learn who she really is.

    Author Surayyah “RayRay” Fofana knows what it’s like to grow up in a multiracial/multireligious/multicultural home and to wonder about what makes her different. As a 16-year-old, high school student, activist, and dancer with a full head of curly hair, Surayyah Fofana penned RayRay Paints a Self-Portrait, to share with the world a realistic and warm portrayal of a diverse home and to create a character that kids just like RayRay could identify with. 

    On November 9th, RayRay Paints a Self Portrait was featured on, a company focused on promoting childhood literacy. Kind Cotton will not be selling the book but will allow teachers to request copies for free until supplies last. The book is also being sold on Amazon and Barnes & Noble but all proceeds go towards donating additional books to Kind Cotton.

    “I’m proud to make an impact in classrooms and in the minds of young readers. Although I’m still growing up, having the opportunity to tell my story has allowed me to relive some of the most memorable and vulnerable moments of my elementary school days.  Through sharing this book with young kids,  I hope it can help them navigate their own experience and maybe even provide some comfort and understanding.”,” said Ms. Fofana. “Ultimately, it’s a book about self-acceptance, self-love, and understanding. It’s an important message I hope to pass on to young people everywhere.”

    About Surayyah Fofana: Surayyah “RayRay” Fofana is a 16-year-old high school student, activist, dancer and writer with a full head of phenomenally curly hair. RayRay Paints a Self-Portrait is her first-ever children’s book. It’s based on her own experience as well experiences of families and children with varied racial, ethnic and/or religious backgrounds. Surayyah is interested in raising awareness around all things tied to race, culture and diversity and creating a better, more inclusive world. She hopes this book can give readers an honest, warm and welcoming idea of a diverse home, much like the one she has grown up in., Instagram:

    Tony M.